The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert B. Kugler United States Magistrate Judge
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
KUGLER, United States Magistrate Judge
This matter is before the Court upon motion by N. Nicholas Hendershot, Esquire, attorney for Defendants, for an order disqualifying Edward C. Logan, Esquire, attorney for Plaintiffs, from this case. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED. Facts and Procedural History
This action arises from a two-vehicle accident that occurred in Burlington, New Jersey. See Statement of Facts and Brief in Support of Defendants' Motion to Disqualify Edward C. Logan, Esquire, as Counsel for Plaintiffs ("Defendants' Brief") at 1. *fn1 Plaintiff John Belensoff was driving a Winnebego in which Plaintiffs Rosemarie Belensoff, John's wife, Evelyn Binkowski and John Binkowski were passengers. See Certification of Edward C. Logan in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Disqualify Plaintiffs' Counsel ("Logan Certification") at ¶ 2. *fn2 The accident occurred when Defendant Thomas Marini collided with the Winnebego while driving a Ford station wagon owned by his employer, Defendant Pol-Ro, Inc. ("Pol-Ro"). See Defendants' Brief at 1-2. The investigating police officer cited Plaintiff John Belensoff for careless driving. See id. at 2. This action followed.
Plaintiffs Evelyn Binkowski and John Binkowski filed a complaint against Defendants in this Court alleging that they were severely injured in the accident. Plaintiffs Rosemarie Belensoff and John Belensoff filed a separate complaint alleging that Rosemarie Belensoff was injured in the accident and asserting a claim for loss of consortium on behalf of John Belensoff, the driver of the Winnebego. The two actions were consolidated on or about September 25, 1998. All four Plaintiffs are represented by Edward C. Logan, Esquire.
Defendants filed a third-party complaint against John Belensoff in the Binkowski action and asserted a counterclaim against him in the Belensoff action claiming that the accident was caused by John Belensoff's negligence in operating the Winnebego.
At a pretrial conference held before the Court, counsel for Defendants raised the issue that Mr. Logan's representation of both the driver and the passengers in this action is a conflict of interest. This motion followed.
In their motion papers, Defendants argue that Mr. Logan's representation of both the driver and passengers in this action is a violation of Rule 1.7 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct as Adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court ("RPC"). See Defendants' Brief at 3.
Plaintiffs argue that no such conflict exists, and, even if there is a conflict, Mr. Logan has made arrangements to have substitute counsel represent Mr. Belensoff on his consortium claim. See Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Disqualify Plaintiffs' Counsel ("Plaintiffs' Brief") at 5. Mr. Logan claims that he can continue to represent the three other plaintiffs in this action even if he is disqualified from representing Mr. Belensoff because he has not had any discussions regarding the accident with his client, Mr. Belensoff, one of the two drivers involved in the accident. See id. at 4. *fn3
"The Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association as revised by the New Jersey Supreme Court shall govern the conduct of the members of the bar admitted to practice in this Court. . .." Rule 103.1(a) of the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Attorney ...